Why I made a documentary
Let’s start with good ol’ Teddy Roosevelt
Mesa, Arizona “Teddy Roosevelt.” Photo. Bass Pro Blogs. <http://blogs.basspro.com/blog/bass-pro-shops-mesa-az/game-changer-theodore-roosevelt>
I was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome when I was 10. Specifically, I believe it was PDD-NOS (an “other” category of autism) but the important thing is I am on the high functioning end of the spectrum.
At the time my parents didn’t know anything about autism. They were both working, so they didn’t have time to go and research it. As a child I wasn’t able to comprehend what having autism meant.
So basically, I had autism, but it was like, “So what?” I still had to go on and live.
Autism wasn’t really ever a thought for me until my senior year of high school. Sure, I had difficulties in school and life, but they were just difficulties, in my mind they weren’t connected with autism.
I always knew I was different from the other kids. I remember for a long time wanting to be normal and fit in. I wanted to belong, and find people like me. During my junior year of high school, I figured out that I’m always going to be different, and that’s ok. I’m probably never going to find anyone quite like me.
During my senior year of high school, my dad found a support group for people and parents of kids with autism. At that time I was for the most part fine with life, but we decided to just see what it was about. When we got there, it was just parents. I was the only person on the spectrum there.
When I talked a bit about my life, the group hung on my every word. They were in awe. Their kids were in the elementary school age. They were just starting to adapt to the struggles they had recently identified. I was a vision of hope for their children’s’ futures. They saw a confident, eloquent, college bound young man.
Later, while I was in college, my dad suggested that after I get settled in life, he and I could write a book that focuses on my experience with Autism. Then it dawned on me. I was in college to learn filmmaking. Why don’t I take that idea and make a movie instead? In Fall 2012, I started thinking about ideas for a capstone project. I realized that the scale of the project lined up well with the autism idea.
I discussed the idea with people, and I kept hearing the phrase, “I wouldn’t have known you had it if you didn’t tell me.”
Hearing that over and over lead me to the ultimate message of the documentary. I want there to be an awareness of autism, so people can recognize behaviors. I also want the people on the spectrum to be able to adapt to the point where they can function in society.